How To Use Photoshop For Focus Stacking Multiple Images

One problem photographers face when focusing on objects extremely close to the camera's lens is the depth of field can become quite shallow. Even if you shoot at f22, your lens simply can't keep everything from 1 foot to infinity sharp and in focus. Gavin Hoey has released an incredibly helpful tutorial on how you can use "image stacking" in photoshop to create images that have much more depth of field than normal. If you are a landscape photographer or shoot tricky subjects like interiors or macro still life, stacking images for maximum sharpness can be a lifesaver.


If you have any examples you have used this technique with, leave your image in the comments.

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11 Comments

Is f22 really the best choice of aperture here? Won't diffraction sort of kick in by then?  F8 and more pics to stack instead?

Completey agree!

He then also would have been able to have a faster shutter speed for crisp waves.

Patrick Hall's picture

yeah I agree, you can shoot at wider apertures and take more photos.  

in every click that he made the camera was forced to a new position...jejejeje...so...amateur..

Ben Deavin's picture

wow, what's with all the haters in the comments, I think the final image looks great regardless of aperture used, I can't see diffraction on the final image.  I think the effect of having to merge more photos in post would be more obvious than the small amount of diffraction (obviously with a cheaper/non-pro lens it may be a different story).
@facebook-704930734:disqus I, just by moving the focal point the final images will have slightly different apparent zoom levels, that's just the physics of focusing (you can see that from the different sizes of the images in the video once they are aligned), so you'd always need to align the layers in photoshop anyway even if you were on a hench tripod using a cable release, to the fact the images would shift a little won't make much difference.
I think it's a really nice final image.

Nicholas's picture

Incredibly helpful video. Beautifully sharp image. You know, nowadays, l lot of photographers including myself, talk about bokeh and shallow depth of field so much, but, honestly, the images that I've seen that've really made me say "wow", are images with lots of depth of field. A lesson for me, it seems, is that depth-of-field does not necessarily mean depth-of-image. This video is proof of that.

My how-to video covering focus stacking in macro photography: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Dz34MMjQ0

Thomas McInnis's picture

I use this technique in a lot of my product work, I recommend everyone give it a go. It would have been impossible to get this shot without a camera with full movements otherwise: http://www.thomasmcinnis.com/product#3 

I am having a trouble stacking 3 photos in Photoshop. I am using canon 650d and when I load files into stack, it does nothing. Now I found that 650d is not supported by Camera Raw, I have upgraded camera Raw and its still giving the same problem.

Note: I am not sure if its the format of canon 650d since I found most of the merging software giving me the almost same error.

Great video! As mentioned by others f8 and faster shutter speed may be more practical. But this is a minor adjustment. The video gives the smart stuff, including an idea to use a macro photo technique for great landscape shots! Thanks Gavin.... Jerry from Sydney

Wow it seams so easy. i will be trying this out very soon,
Thanks a lot the very easy lesson to follow